Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter

by Mary Open Doors
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Living with Abuse
Living with Abuse

Mary Open Doors foundation is built on love and support from those of us caring for each person in our community. This is an accumulation of experiences, ideas, finances, knowledge, and plain love for families, and keeping families together by helping them to live lives with dignity and knowing that we care.

We depend on support from you and many volunteers who have left their homes on missions to help this cause. Domestic Violence is a worldwide epidemic and our only hope is coming together to assist those in need. A huge thank you to all those who have help us over the years and our new supporters. We appreciate each and every one of you!

Today, we are happy to report that our meeting with our partner government agency (Women’s Department) mentioned in our last report have provided us with a grant of BZE $10,000 to assist with the administration of the shelter. This finaical support comes at a critical time and is tremendously motivating for us. We are grateful that the Belizean Government recognizes the value of our service to the community and the plight we have endured in our continuous effort to support our cause financially. We hope that this is the beginning of a long and fruitful working relationship that can only lead to success in realizing our mission to eliminate domestic violence.

Additionally, we are excited to share that a new Board of Directors meeting is scheduled to strategically recruit community organizations and new donors to join our cause through increased involvement in leading the organization. We have solicited organizations such as banks, credit unions, (some already existing donors) member of our town council, Women Development Officer, and others to have a more efficient and effective leadership that will keep us engage and growing.

Furthermore, we are in communication with the Center for Social Impact Learning, Frontier Market Scouts at Middlebury Institute for International Studies in the U.S. to recruit a volunteer for the position of Organizational Development Office for two years starting in June, 2017.  The objectives of this position is to revitalize the organization, increase its effectiveness, and social impact. Conduct an organizational needs assessment; design a 5 year strategic plan, including media and communication strategy plan. Review the current organizational and financial structure and make recommendations for reform, review draft operating budget and include salary for either a CEO or Executive Director. Review and redesign the annual report for donors and governmental stakeholders, design a plan to nurture and grow local and international networks, design a fundraising strategy that further strengthens current partnership with Global Giving, while identifying key grants with the potential to fund operating budgets aimed at increasing capacity, review and recommend further updates for the website and assist with administrative tasks.

We are pleased to share with you our valued donors’ news of our successful recruiting of two in-country  volunteers from Galen University, the only private university in Belize to assist us with daily operations and communications.  

 

Mary Open Doors Impact – A Survivor Story

 “I didn’t have any knowledge of domestic violence. I didn’t know there was help. I didn’t know how to live alone with ten children. I was so afraid of him.”

“My sister-in-law was also a victim of domestic violence and she told me that there was help. But I was scared to approach them. In 2008, both of us went to jail, and it was his fault. I was in jail for three months, and my kids were taken in by Social Services. This is when I realized that I had to get out of this kind of life, for myself and for my kids. I was scared because I felt alone, I had no family support. This is why I put up with him for twelve years.”

“In January 2009, in the morning, he got up and beat our daughter, I defended her and he beat me as well. In 2007, my mom died, and I wanted to visit her grave, so I asked him to take me to the cemetery. It was in the evening that we went, I prayed and asked my mom for a sign. It was getting late and we left. He was a taxi driver, and he had me behind the steering wheel to practice my driving by the seashore. Here he was trying to be nice to make up for the beating that he gave me and my daughter. While I was driving, there were three ladies that stopped the taxi, so I got off the driver seat for him to drive. What happened next was an experience that made me really focus on my life. The three ladies that got into the taxi were two old ladies, one who was very sick in a wheelchair, and her granddaughter that accompanied them. The old lady who was sick with Alzheimer said, ‘Terese are you okay?’ as she looked back at me. I didn’t know this old lady, how did she knew my name? Even he looked back at me. She touched me, and continued ‘Terese, am talking to you. Are you okay? I know you aren’t okay.

Do something with your life.’ I felt something through my body, I can’t explain how I felt. My mom answered me. She talked to me through this old lady. ‘Thank you Lord.’ I said in my mind.”

“I decided no more. No more bruises. No more headaches. No more swollen mouth. No more living every day in fear of him.”

“First of February, he left for work, and I told my kids to get ready; no packing up of everything, only one pair of shoes, clothing, anything, but not everything. So we could just leave. He returned home quickly. I told the children to drop everything, he almost caught us. He sensed something was off and said, ‘Bunch of hypocrites’. This was still in 2009. The third of February, I told him a lie. I told him that I needed to go see the lady that took care of my kids when I was in jail. He gave me some money to catch a taxi. He said that by 10 a.m. I should be back at home. For some reason he couldn’t take me. I went to Social Services for help. I talked to the lady, I couldn’t take it anymore. I broke down in front of her. I was so emotional, couldn’t help but cry. I asked her to tell me if she could help me, because if they can’t help me, I need to be back at home by 10 a.m.”

“She explained all the things that we had to do. Everything including the restraining order. I told the lady that I wanted to go far away from the city. Far from where he could reach me, I couldn’t describe the fear I had for this person. And that’s how I came here at Mary Open Doors, in the Cayo district, far from Belize City.”

“I didn’t know how I would make it here alone with my kids. But I was free. We were finally free from him. I was happy with this new life with no fear of what he might do to us. This peacefulness.”

Mary Open Doors really was a blessing and and a place of safe heaven for me and my children. I did not know how I would survive, but with the encouraging love, support and direction I was able to ovecome my fear of being on my own.

“I am struggling with house bills and tuition. That’s the sacrifice I made for my kids. I want them to have the education I never had. Two of them are in primary school, and three in high school. Even after eight years has passed, my kids are still angry. They don’t forget what they went through with their father. That’s why I talk to them about domestic violence. I want them to be somebody in their lives and not walk down the same path as their father.”

“Abuse was nothing nice. He physically, mentally, verbally, and sexually abused me. He never had a heart.”

“I am a happy survivor of domestic violence because Mary Open Doors were there to provide shelter and support through the difficult times and throughout the healing process.”

Ms. Teresa W., Survivor (SUCCESS STORY)

 

Mary Open Doors impact - A  victim's Story (currently in the suitation)

Hopefully with the assistance of Mary Open Doors this thirty-five year old creole woman with five children (three teenagers) and common-law living in a domestic violence situation for over ten years will get the couragae and support needed to leave her situation.

Interviewer: Can you explain your current situation and abuse experienced?

Client: I did not grow up with my parents and have not experience love in a good way. I wish I had my mother to give me a hug and listen to my cries. He has beaten me about four times. I was living with his mother. He came home late one even without anything for us to eat. Both me and the children were hungry and he did not bring anything. I decided to go and try to get something to eat from my friends.

He taught I was going to see another man. He followed me and came at me kicking and punching me i immediaely went to the police he was arrested and release. He came and the honeymoon cycle began all over again.

Client:Second hitting broke three of my ribs I still suffer the effects of that even as we speak today. During this time I have changed I have develop a hatefull feeling towards him since then to present.  There is no peace in my home constant fighting sometimes I feel like I am going crazy. I try my best to control how I feel but this is hard.

Interviewer: Will you leave?

Client : I cannot leave because I have no family alive, no education and no job I have got to stay and live like this feeling like S..T all the time.

Interviewer: If you had help would you leave?

Client: I most definately would LIKE TO LEAVE and one day I will leave?

 This and many other stories similiar to this is what we at Mary Open Doors experience as we struggle to keep open the doors of the organization. This need to support women and their children in our community will help in the restoration of  our family units and family values to create a better environment for the future generation.

Living with abuse
Living with abuse
Good things happens when we share
Good things happens when we share
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Awarness+Action=Social Change DV Campaign
Awarness+Action=Social Change DV Campaign

Here at Mary Open Doors we love, love, our supporters! Your support empowers us to raise awareness, take action to help those who are ready to start a violence free life, which leads to powerful social change in communities all over Belize! Our work would not be possible without your generosity and we take this opportunity to truly convey our heart-felt gratitude!

The work to rebuild the organization is ongoing. We’ve recently met with our social partners from the Ministry of Human Development and Social Services to discuss a strategy to get the organization up to its full potential. The meeting was productive now we are waiting for feedback from this important social partner.

As we continue the work to fund our current GG project, we never thought garnering support from within our home country would be this challenging. Mary Open Doors is well known in the community as the resource to seek out when women are ready to leave their abusive relationships. I must admit that there is blame to go around as we face the human resource challenge as a grass-roots organization. However, my heart is warmed and happy to know that people who have never been to our country or know us personally would be so responsive to our cause. The outpouring of support from people from abroad is astounding and we simply want to you to know that we value you. We also value our in-country supporters tremendously. We are now tasked to raise more awareness about our work to the greater Belizean public. A well thought our campaign should go a long way in getting more Belizean organizations to join you in supporting us.

There is so much work to do in domestic violence in Belize. We call on our social partners to join us in this important endeavour to strengthen our capacity to improve and expand our services.

As we move close to Giving Tuesday and the Holidays in December, we humbly ask that you think of our work and how this work impact families.

Short Story on our Work:

I will take a minute to share how your support helps us to help others. Imagine this scenario! A mother and her 8 children are ready to leave the abusive relationship she has endured for 15 or more years. She has never worked, never managed money, never built a network of supportive friends, has less than an 8th grade education, and has never been outside of her village. Imagine the courage it would take for her to leave the only home she has known. How will she feed her children? Who will pay the bills, and the fees for her children to go to school? Wait, there is more… She is not feeling well, as-a-matter-of-fact, she has been unwell and knows she needs to see a doctor. She loses hope of ever escaping her situation when she things about the needs of her children coupled with her inability to provide for them.

Mary Open Doors is working in this woman’s village through a women’s group to raise awareness about H.I.V. and its connection to Domestic Violence. They have a meeting and invite women to this meeting where they have a conversation with the women about H.I.V and their basic human rights. Information on the importance of getting tested and how to obtain legal protection and child support for the children is shared. Yes, finally the organization talks about emergency housing in the event a woman need to suddenly leave. Information on how to contact the organization is shared.

Two days later the woman who attended the session called. She has had enough of her abusive spouse and made up her mind to leave with her 8 children. She urgently needs emergency shelter. Mary Open Doors takes immediate action to extend assistance. An intake is conducted to document the woman’s physical and psychological wellbeing, which leads to a plan to provide shelter, food, clothing, medical care, court advocacy, and so forth. This action leads to positive change as the woman learns about her inner strengthens and realize that a new life is indeed possible.

You empower us to raise awareness that leads to action and social change on regular basis. The aforementioned short story shared today is replicated many time at Mary Open Doors. This is all made possible because you choose to support us. On the behalf of our victims and survivors, we are so grateful!

We leave you with this quote.

“One in three women may suffer from abuse and violence in her lifetime. This is an appalling human rights violation, yet it remains one of the invisible and under-recognized pandemics of our time.”  Violence against women is an appalling human rights violation. But it is not inevitable. We can put a stop to this.”
— Nicole Kidman

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Side view of  newly renovated shelter facility
Side view of newly renovated shelter facility

Dear Donors

In our last report we’ve shared a brief overview on the outcome of being a recipient of the B.A.1 Project funding. Yes, our small staff have received training on the revised Care Model Rehabilitation Approach to meet the needs of women and their families once they are under Mary Open Doors (MOD) care.

Additional training was received by several members of our staff and board on ways to build awareness on the issue of domestic violence in communities otherwise not receptive to the information along with empowering women with the right information on how to safely leave abusive relationships with their children. The B.A.1. Project brought about a number of capacity building seminars and training to strengthen the knowledge base of emergency shelter staff and other community stakeholders directly involved in addressing domestic violence, femicide, and trafficking in persons, which are issues currently affecting Belize.

With the successful completion of the project, MOD now boast a newly renovated emergency shelter facility. Much needed repairs, maintenance, and upgrades were completed such as repairing roof, upgrading windows, adding another bathroom, installation of gutters. We now have a newly renovated shelter facility with new furniture and equipment allowing us to create a more therapeutic environment for our survivors and their children.

Other news from the field! Now that we have a newly renovated shelter and new equipment for our office, we are better prepared to provide a safe therapeutic environment for women who are survivors of domestic violence. Our directors are very interested in strengthening the capacity of MOD to increase training, psychosocial, and legal support services for our women in 2017.

To successfully strengthen our capacity to provide the aforementioned services; we will need your support and the support of our Belizean community stakeholders. We plan to establish a fundraising campaign on Global Giving to specifically address this critical capacity strengthening plan to expand the rehabilitation treatment methods to our survivors and their children.

Your continued support for this project is still needed to achieve success! We’ve successfully completed the renovations, shelter improvements, and staff training over the last couple of months.

Notwithstanding these past few months’ successes, we must be ultimately successful to achieve the goals of the project to purchase our shelter. It’s increasingly more critical that MOD is successful in this project campaign. Together, we can saver the rewards of an incredible accomplishment to purchase property!

Why this project is so critical? Outline below are several responses related to the importance of achieving this significant milestone to own a permanent facility.

  1. As a result of being able to purchase its own facility, MOD will be able to ensure that the recent repairs and upgrades made to the building for it to be an appropriate shelter facility continue to benefit its clients while increasing the sustainability of the organization.
  2. As a result of being able to purchase its own facility, MOD will be able to put in place more permanent rehabilitation and recovery services for clients without concern that items will have to be movable or temporary while enabling the organization to make additional structural changes to benefit client recovery and safety.
  3. To facilitate reorganizing of services to establish more permanence for the facility and ensure a more therapeutic environment for women.
  4. The organization can more confidently provide its program activities, which includes:

          A) Emergency short term shelter accommodation. MOD provides women and children with meals, clothing,   primary health care, all provided free of charges.

         B) Training on personal hygiene, family health, and life skills.

        C) Basic counselling for trauma caused due to domestic violence, and rudimentary behaviral modification therapy.

        D) Legal information and court support to assist women to obtain protection orders, working with law enforcement to explain legal rights, rights over children, property, and protection of basic human rights.

        E) Provision of childcare, food for children, supervision of children, enrollment of children in new schools during shelter stay and while establishing independent living.

       F) Providing women with a road map to enter or re-enter independent living and gainful employment.

       G) Education and prevention campaign outreach to women and the general public on domestic violence while providing support and intervention to survivors.

      H) Providing basic job skill training to women at the shelter.

Although we’ve had some awesome things happen over the last couple of months, we still need your help to meet our project goal to "Purchase a Domestic Violence Shelter in Belize".

We are confident that with your support we will be successful!

Our Inspirational Quote by Mother Theresa: “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much"

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Mary Open Doors New Logo
Mary Open Doors New Logo

Dear Valued Donors:

We are excited to share that each day that passes strengthens our resolve to continue serving our women and their families to overcome domestic abuse. We are encouraged to put our best foot forward each day. Therefore, with confidence, we lay claim to brighter days, tremendous growth and development of the organization and its capacity to improve and broaden its services to eliminate the scourge of domestic violence in Belize.

Today’s breaking news puts a smile on our faces and especially in our hearts when we reflect on the journey that is taking us to a better place. Mary Open Doors is one of the recipients of the B.A. 1 Project funding. Our proposal did not go unheard, it’s been quite successful.

What is the B.A.1 project? The project is a regional initiative developed to create safer environments while promoting sustainable human development for people from Central America. The project aims to address prevention of violence against women, human trafficking and femicide in Central America. This project was simultaneously implemented in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. The project seek to improved regional and national coordinator for implementation of prevention response to violence against women, trafficking, and femicide.

Additionally, the project aimed to build institutional capacity within the community of service providers and agencies at the regional, national, and grassroots levels. Human capacity building for shelters such as Mary Open Doors included training on a comprehensive care and treatment model for victims along with counselling based training for those directly involved with administering interventions for victims and survivors.

Furthermore, the project considered infrastructural needs of existing shelters and the workplace for serving agencies such as Mary Open Doors. Through this funding, our shelter and office underwent various renovations that was urgently needed to improve the care setting we provide to women and their children. We are grateful and truly delighted to see the improvements made daily to the space that is offered to so many families. We invited you to read the full Terms of Reference (TOR) for the B.A.1 project to fully understand the tremendous positive impact this project made on all aspects of our services.  

Project update. In addition to staff training, improved equipment through the B.A. 1 project, we are ecstatic about the support we’ve received from one donor this March. Huge thanks to the Word at Work Ministries for their continuous support. They continue to raise awareness on our campaign on Global Giving to purchase the land and building that is used as our shelter. We are very grateful to the donor who made a generous offline donation this March.

We still need your help! Although we’ve had some awesome things happen over the last couple of months, we still need your help to meet our project goal. There are many ways to help, including sharing our project link with families, friends, and colleagues in the work place. It is more important now than ever that the organization successfully reaches its goal to purchase the shelter. Too many resources, time, and energies have been invested over the years and the course of the B.A.1 project to not succeed at this important juncture of growth and development of the organization.

Moreover, we owe it you and other generous donors to remain committed to successfully reaching the project’s goal. We remain dedicated and optimistic about our project to purchase our shelter. Our inspiration comes from our women and children we serve but it also from you our donors and supporters.

Our Inspirational Quote by Helen Keller: “When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another".

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Community Mural Project in San Ignacio
Community Mural Project in San Ignacio

Reflecting on 2015 brings about vivid recollection of the challenges, opportunities, and successes for Mary Open Doors! Challenges are inevitable when delivering care to mothers and their families with battered bodies and broken spirits. Successful intervention is never an easy or straightforward process but one that requires patients, compassion, and understanding that each woman’s need is unique and her path to healing may be strikingly different from the previous survivor.

There were many opportunities to evaluate, collaborate, and build capacity through a regional project to address domestic violence known as the B.A.1 project. Members of our staff and board participated in a variety of training that will improve breadth and depth of our understanding of the physiological and psychological effects of violence on mothers and their children.

January saw our team participating in the Care Model Protocol training for domestic violence shelters and other agencies who provide varied level of care. This intense two days training further strengthens our ability to provide a level of care that empowers women and their families to move from victims’ status to strong survivors.

Furthermore, 2015 brought us success with our families, volunteers, and with our fundraising objectives. Mary Open Doors measures its success by each tiny step we take to help families. Many of our success stories in 2015 were directly linked to compassionate donors like you who supported our organization in myriads of ways. We are truly grateful for your support!

Both local and international donors made a significant difference in our ability to provide services, which included feeding, clothing, and sheltering women and children. Mary Open Doors and a visiting group of volunteers teamed up to distribute food a week before Christmas. We immediately accepted the opportunity to partner with the visitors to provide 15 families with rice, beans, chicken, and other groceries to help make their holiday season a little brighter. Every bit of assistance goes a long way to make a difference in the lives of our families.

Our end-of-year fundraising campaign was another success not because we met our fundraising goal but because we were able to strengthen our relationship with existing donors while attracting new donors to our cause. Our team endeavor to work even more feverishly to grow our network of supporters as we continue our commitment to secure our shelter.

Other News at Mary Open Doors!

Two mothers and their children recently moved from the shelter after receiving services to rebuild their lives. Our new website is up but is still a work in progress. Work will continue to make the website more dynamic as 2016 continues to unfold. We were assessed by the B.A.1 Project Infrastructure consultant in December. We await their recommendations for funding that would address urgent repairs and refurbishing work at the resource center and shelter.

With the help of our long-term Belizean volunteer Mr. Kenny Chan, we’ve designed a membership program, which we aim to launch in the upcoming months.

Mary Open Doors now eagerly awaits the outcome of the research conducted in January by the Ph.D. candidate from Adler University in the United States. Approximately 13 survivors participated in the research project that investigated the Male Police Officers' Response to Female Victims of Domestic Violence in Belize. Every single achievement in 2015 was only made possible because of donors like you.

Our project still needs help…

The incredible goal to purchase the house with land that houses our shelter is still paramount to the orgaization. We’ve seen tremendous support for this project but still need more supporters like you to get involved to help us reach out goal! With your continued support, we know our project will be successful. Huge thanks to you for making 2015 an incredible year for our communities!

Inspirational Quote

“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become”. C.G. Jung

Survivors promote Shelter project
Survivors promote Shelter project
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Organization Information

Mary Open Doors

Location: San Ignacio Town - Belize
Website:
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Project Leader:
Mary Open Doors
San Ignacio Town, Belize
$12,459 raised of $28,750 goal
 
240 donations
$16,291 to go
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